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Cobham Free School

(20 Posts)
Mummybetty Mon 19-Jan-15 12:41:44

I would really appreciate some first hand recent information about Cobham Free School. I have been living abroad for the last 15 years and will be coming back to the UK with my 3 daughters. I have my heart set on wanting to live in Cobham and have found out the closest secondary state school is CFS. However as it's a fairly new school there are no statistics to back up their impressive aspirations. Can anyone tell me of their experiences with the school? The other school I have looked at is Howard of Effingham which has it's impressive statistics but we would not beable to live in Cobham. Can anyone give me their opinion of the 2 schools?

Thanks so much

OP’s posts: |
springrain Mon 19-Jan-15 23:13:25

I don't know the Free school but do know HoE. Downside is on outskirts of Cobham and in the HoE catchment. Also there are children at Howard from Cobham, but it depends on your distance from the school and on how large the year group is as to whether you get in or not. What ages are your DD's?

Mummybetty Tue 20-Jan-15 22:25:30

Hi Springrain

One daughter is 14 and the other 12 years. My youngest would be last year of primary. All girls are musical that's why I liked the sound of Cobham Free School. Do you know if Howard has a strong music department? And whether they can have one on one lessons with their instruments?

OP’s posts: |
SillyPops Tue 20-Jan-15 22:28:29

Cobham is lovely. As you know CFS is very new, but from what I've heard its a nice school and is doing well so far. I'm local, if you want any advicebon anything else, feel free to PM me smile

makemineadouble72 Wed 21-Jan-15 07:18:21

I don't think the senior school is even open yet? They are still trying to get planning permission for the site.....HoE is an excellent school and I would choose that every time - the A level results are good as /better than many of the private schools in the area. Also, house prices in Cobham are super crazy at the moment - its almost as expensive as central London. Unless you have a million to spend, you might be better off looking at Effingham and getting in the HoE catchment.

Mummybetty Wed 21-Jan-15 10:32:56

Do you know if Howard has a strong music and drama department? Do they have any orchestras. I couldn't find any reference to music on their website.

OP’s posts: |
groundhogmummy Wed 21-Jan-15 17:30:28

Cobham free school senior dept has opened, but they only have year 7, so may suit if you 12 year old is current year 7, as i think they still have spaces in that year. Otherwise not an option for your older two. It is a v different school to Howard, juniors and seniors having to mix in same small building, with no specialist teaching space. A shame as it seems like a friendly school, but you hit the nail on the head when you said 'impressive aspirations'... They are planning on building a new building but when I was looking, they had no planning permission for this, so can't see it being before 2017 at least.

Howard also propose to build a new school for 2017 and currently have planning permission under consultation.

Howard do have an orchestra, although as it is at lunchtime there are a number of people who play instruments who do not attend, which is a shame. There are several other music clubs that my dd loves - eg music tech, ukulele, different choirs, again though all at lunchtimes (seems to be only sport after school). You can have 1-1 instrumental tuition, but it means missing lessons (but that is fairly std for in-school tuition). They put on fab productions and hire local theatres although i think it is more older year groups and only the really confident younger ones i suspect get involved. I don't think the Howard sells itself very well when you look round/prospectus, there is certainly plenty going on.

titchy Wed 21-Jan-15 18:28:29

Wherever you apply to you'll be looking at an in year application so you'll be relying on vacancies. CFS no good for your 14 year old, possible for your 12 yo unless she turns 13 before September. Assuming youngest year 6 you've missed secondary application date so like the others you'll have to see if there are any vacancies anywhere. Howard won't have any I can guarantee for younger or middle, don't know about your oldest. Might be tricky for her depending on what year she goes into.

Have you rung Surrey to see where has vacancies?

springrain Wed 21-Jan-15 20:37:11

As others have said there is a good music department at HoE. If you are interested I would call admissions there, as they are their own admissions authority and manage their own wait lists. They should be able to tell you exactly how many children are on wait list in DD1 & DD2's years at present so are the best source of this info. In a school the size of Howard you will also have natural movement of around 5 to 10 pupils a year in each year group (other than GCSE years where people really try not to move) so have that in mind when you are told the wait list numbers.

Plus if youngest DD is year 6 you can submit a late application as an overseas applicant (see SCC website for info on applying as an overseas applicant) based on current overseas address and then amend this to correct UK address when you have one. It is always better to be in the system (even as a late applicant) than out of it. The admissions team will know number of first preference applicants they have by now and how this compares to previous years, but will not be able to predict yet what that means for admissions for current year 6.

Also, if you did move to within the catchment then there is sibling priority once 1 DD has a place.

Mummybetty Wed 21-Jan-15 21:11:15

It does seem that Howard doesn't sell itself enough in the music, drama departments then... As you have all confirmed they are strong in these areas.

Would anyone know how Howard compares to Hinchley Wood?

I rang CFS today and found out my oldest daughter is too old, there is no year 9. As I would like them all to go to the same school that does knock CFS off my list.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Wed 21-Jan-15 21:18:50

I'd say they were both on a par. I think you'll have difficulty getting both into the same school though tbh - Therfield may have vacancies for both but I doubt any other school will so you'd have to appeal, and you couldn't guarantee both appeals would be successful.

springrain Wed 21-Jan-15 22:21:40

Only know of HW by reputation which is pretty good as tichy says. Suggest you call admission department of both and take it from there, come back for more suggestions if you draw a blank.

When are you planning to move, as that is the other issue, in that if there is a place I doubt that schools can hang on to them for you. I would ask them how it would work with an in year application from overseas.

Waitingandhoping2015 Wed 21-Jan-15 23:07:30

You'd struggle to get into Hinchley Wood unless you lived pretty close. People in Claygate were failing to get in in recent years and that's only about 1.5 miles away. They've now made Claygate Primary a feeder school to HW which will exacerbate the situation for everyone else and mean that you need to live even closer to get in!

Mummybetty Thu 22-Jan-15 11:34:49

Well because we are moving from abroad we can move exactly to where we need to be. So I guess I just have to decide on one school and put all our eggs in one basket and move into that catchment area. It would be a midterm application.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 22-Jan-15 14:26:46

mummybetty with a mid year application it is irrelevant whether or not you live in the catchment area, that is only relevant if you are applying in the normal round of applications so for a year 7 place.

The only thing that is relevant is whether the school has vacancies in the year groups you want. It is highly unlikely HoE or HW have vacancies, so even living on the doorstep will not help.

Mummybetty Thu 22-Jan-15 15:08:28

It's time to call admissions and to decide on a plan. Thanks for everyone's input, it's been really very helpful��

OP’s posts: |
springrain Thu 22-Jan-15 21:35:35

good luck - let us know how you get on.....

hollycottage Thu 16-Jan-20 14:33:55

Hi everyone . We have a Sen daughter ( reason : dyslexia) who needs a year 7 place in September 2020. We have put both Howard of Effingham and Cobham Free School down as our 2 preferred schools . If anyone has experience of either of those schools , we would be most grateful to knownas much insider knowledge as we can about them as
apparently we still have the option to change our first preference . Thank you

Flyingmum23 Fri 10-Apr-20 19:31:52

Hi @Hollycottage
Did you get any info/feedback? I would like to learb more on cobhan free school please.

Flyingmum23 Sat 11-Apr-20 23:08:32

Hello, I have only seen reviews that are 5 year olds.. Are there any parents that can comment on the quality of the education and pastoral care in the secondary school who have recent experience? Is the school oversubscribed or is it only in the primary school? Thank you.

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